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Plight of Afghan women

Janey Moffatt, right, with one of the Afghan women she spoke to

Janey Moffatt, right, with one of the Afghan women she spoke to

A FILM-MAKER and peace campaigner spent two weeks in Afghanistan filming and interviewing Afghan mothers and health workers for a hard-hitting documentary.

Janey Moffatt, 38, and 33-year-old Maya Evans, made the film to raise awareness of the plight of ordinary women in the war-ravaged country.

The project, called Afghanistan: A Difficult Birth, was also to give these mothers a voice in a country where one in 11 die in childbirth.

Janey and Maya, who is still in Afghanistan until the end of the month, met with local peace volunteers and later linked up with two camerawomen and a female Afghan translator.

The pair visited a woman’s refuge, a refugee camp and a clinic during their visit to the capital Kabul and its outskirts.

They saw some shocking images, including women visibly giving birth while sitting on a wooden bench in a crowded clinic.

Janey, a mother-of-two, said: “Making the film was a learning curve for me because I only knew Afghanistan from what was in the news.

“Maya and I spoke to many mums but it was quite challenging being in a culture where it’s not normal for a woman to speak on camera. The family or husband normally forbid it.

“We were lucky in the end and I was inspired by a lot of the women we spoke to. There are many strong women in Afghanistan.”

Janey told the Observer that she found her two-week visit ‘life-changing’.

She said: “We spoke to one woman who was suffering from complications brought on by her last pregnancy. It costs $100 for a woman to go to a cheap hospital in Afghanistan.

“We were very moved by her story and therefore made the decision to pay the money so she could go to hospital and be treated.

“We visited a couple of government-run clinics. There were crowds of women trying to get in one. Inside there were only six beds with no privacy. Women were visibly labouring and one was sitting on a wooden bench giving birth.

“I had a really difficult child birth where I felt like I wanted to die. Luckily I was at the Conquest and had medical support. Mums in Afghanistan are not so fortunate.”

Janey returned to Hastings on December 17.

To find out more about her and Maya’s project and for updates visit afghanmums.tumblr.com or www.indiegogo.com/projects/afghanistan-a-difficult-birth.

Alternatively ring Janey on 07535 279444.

 

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